Whiplash trauma occurs with a sudden trauma to the head and neck relative to other parts of the body, and can also result in mid back and lumbosacral spine injuries as well. Typically occurring in vehicular collisions or other mishaps, whiplash injuries are classified in categories ranging from grades 1 through 4. The term Whiplash Associated Disorders describes the cluster of signs and symptoms resulting from this type of injury, which may include neck pain, stiffness, tenderness, decreased ranges of motion, point tenderness, headaches and neurological implications.
When a whiplash patient arrives to the emergency room or at their primary care provider’s office following an accident, approximately 90% of those with whiplash injuries are diagnosed with a Category 2 WAD. Grade-2 WAD’s is assigned to whiplash injuries with neck stiffness or pain with restricted ranges of motion, musculoskeletal signs and substantial interference with normal activities of daily living. As these injuries and symptoms fall well within the scope of chiropractic care, this is the type of whiplash injury that practitioners most encounter. Grade 2 WAD injuries typically resolve within 6-months to a 2-year period, however recent literature establishes long-term residuals ranging from 10% to 80% with some studies. Although most cases settle down with time, a significant group of injured patients suffer from recurring symptoms for years following the injury. The application of innovative methods of assessment and care has also contributed in reducing disability and recovery time.
Injured tissues require undergoing three stages for recovery to occur: The first stage of recovery includes the inflammatory phase, the second; the repair phase is followed by the last phase, the remodeling phase.
During trauma, structural damage occurs to the elements of the spine such as ligaments, facet joints, joint capsules and muscles along with its associated neuroautonomical implications. This greatly increases the potential towards altering the spinal biomechanics. Consequently, a common cause of unresolving WAD-2 cases includes undiagnosed altered biomechanics incurred during trauma,which impedes the normal resolution of complaints.
Unless one has a qualified practitioner in the field of biomechanics, an increased likelihood of long-term affectation is inevitable. Early assessment and intervention with these cases is a key factor to a better prognosis. Whether acute, sub-acute or chronic, the normalization of altered biomechanics is imperative to the successful outcome of rehabilitative measures.
Increasingly, Class 3 Laser technologies such as the Bioflex Laser are being utilized effectively in the treatment of whiplash related disorders by promoting tissue regeneration, thus enhancing structural stabilization. Worldwide research to date has failed to record any significant negative effect from this process.
Consequently, the combined efforts of skilled chiropractic care and laser application with the Bioflex system are showing promising results when compared with standard medical treatment which consists of typical pain management medication combined with standard physiotherapy.